It can become easy to neglect caring for yourself in this busy world, especially when you are a parent. When it feels like nothing is slowing down and you have not had time to breathe, remember that you cannot save others without first saving yourself. Therefore, even in a busy schedule, it is important to take some time out of your day for you. Self-care is important in maintaining good mental, emotional, and physical health and is also a good way to show self-love. In this article, we will talk about what self-care is, why it’s important, and some tips for parents to practice self-care.
What is Self-Care and Why is it Important?
Self-care is the intentional act of caring for one’s needs emotionally, mentally, and physically. Some people feel that practicing self-care is selfish but taking care of yourself and showing yourself love and kindness is not selfish. A big part of self-care is setting boundaries for yourself and the people around you (Fader, 2022). Self-care can look different for different people but overall, self-care is playing an active role in your own well-being and growth. Self-care is important because it allows your mind and body to take a rest. Our lives seem to be full of responsibilities that are never-ending but without setting those aside and resting your mind, long term effects can begin to materialize. Burnout along with depression, anxiety, resentment of responsibilities, and many other negative responses can come out of neglecting your self-care (What is Self-Care and Why is it Important For You?, 2020). Self-care has been proven to have positive effects on reducing depression, anxiety, and stress; minimize anger and frustration, and increase energy and happiness (What is self-Care and Why is it Important For You?, 2020).
Tips for Practicing Self-Care
- Plan for it (Beresin, 2021): It can become easy to get in the habit of living day to day between work, taking care of the kids, and taking care of household duties. It is important to plan your schedule out, take time in the morning, or the night before, when the kids are in bed, to plan out your day. Set priorities for work and for home and be sure to only load yourself with what you can handle. It is easy to say you will get all the things done in a day but when you realize you’re exhausted or there’s not enough time to finish, it becomes more stressful, and you start coming down on yourself. Schedule out your day in advance and be sure to leave some time for you!
- Choose Fun Things in Advance (Beresin, 2021): When trying to decide what to do with your self-care time, you want to choose activities that you can look forward to, but this can become stressful when you’re tight on time and not sure where to start. Plan, do you want to read a book you’ve been thinking about for months or learn how to make banana bread? Maybe you want to learn how to crochet or start painting. Choose an activity ahead of time so that it doesn’t feel as stressful and then you’ll have something to look forward to!
- “Spoil” Yourself (Beresin, 2021): Every so often we take time out to spoil our kids whether that be going to the park, getting candy, or going for ice cream. We do this because we love them and want them to feel that love. Therefore, it is so important to take time to do something nice for yourself. Buy the new shoes you’ve been wanting, plan to see the new movie that’s coming out, or go to the “nicer” restaurant for lunch. Whichever you pick, it is important to show yourself that same love!
- Spend Time with Friends (Beresin, 2021): Having so many responsibilities can make it feel like you never have time to see your friends, but it is important to allow yourself to spend time with your people. Sometimes all you need is a phone call to vent, or you could plan to help each other run errands. It is important to be around people that make you feel safe and comfortable to just be yourself around, however, and whatever that may be.
- Look to your Future (Beresin, 2021): Eventually, the babies grow up and leave the nest and you can be left feeling bored or not sure what to do next. That is why it is important to start making plans now, whether large or small. Planning for the future, no matter how elaborate or not, can help alleviate future stress on yourself and allow you to never stop looking forward to your future!
Beresin, G. (2021, August 16). 10 Self-Care Tips for Parents. MGH Clay Center for Young
Healthy Minds. https://www.mghclaycenter.org/parenting-concerns/10-self-care-tips-for-parents/
Fader, S. (2022, October 7). What Is Self Care And Why Is It Important? | BetterHelp.
What is Self-Care and Why is it Important For You? (2020, April 14).